Cookin'-up on What?! Cooking Appliances in the 21st Century
Updated: Jul 23
There's been chatter in the news about converting all households in the U.S. to cooking on electric ranges. How will this affect families that have loyalty to cooking with gas? What might be challenges and problems to making such a life-changing conversion? And, why is it even being discussed---what's the driving force behind this idea?
A few months ago, there was buzz in the news about placing a ban on all gas ranges in the U.S. and having all households convert to cooking on electric ranges. How will this affect families that have loyalties to the "old faithful" gas stove? What might be challenges and problems to making such a life-changing conversion? Why is this idea even a conversation?
So far, my discussions have been about food, eating, healthy food choices, and overall wellbeing. I've also been thinking about the appliances and devices of today, on which to cook my healthy choices.
Although it would not affect me, since I converted to electric years ago, I was convinced at 12 years old that I was done with the gas range.
At 12, I was a latchkey kid before it even became a thing or even before the term existed in the dictionary, at home preparing my lunch. My family had a gas stove and the burner would not ignite. I knew if the burner was turned on without any flames, the pilot light was out, meaning gas was escaping into mid-air. I learned that from my mom and dad.
In addition to the pilot light being out, I heard a searing sound and gas fumes coming from the range top (actually, the fumes I smelled were chemicals the gas utility company added to the gas for safety, since gas is odorless and colorless, it would give occupants time to get out of the building/house as far away as possible to safety).
So, with those three indicators not in my favor, it was time for me to get out of the house. But, the stove exploded before I could turn around to back away from the stove. There was a loud "boom" and then the drawers on the stove flew open and hit my shins. Thank goodness, that was the extent of it, although it was still very serious, and it could have been deadly----I could have lost my life in the midst of it.
I called my mom at work and the gas utility company came out an inspected the range, lit the pilot lights and everything checked out okay.
However, since that day, I have not had any use for a gas range. If there is ever a mandate to convert to using an electric range, I will not be affected.
But, what about the families who cook with gas? What challenges and problems will they have in making the conversion?
Since I've been on both sides of the range dilemma, here's my first-hand experience using electric vs. gas:
Heat can't be manually controlled
Flame is preset
Food has a greater chance to burn--food must be removed from the burner immediately
Burner has to cool down
Food can overcook or scorch
Electric is safer and cleaner
Flame can be manually controlled
Flame can be turned off immediately
Burner cools immediately
Food will not overcook, scorch, or burn
Pilot lights must be lit to prevent unsafe gas seepage
Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
Can be dirty
So, why all the fuss?
"Richard Trumka Jr., a US Consumer Product Safety commissioner, states that gas stoves posed a “hidden hazard” and suggested the agency could ban them."
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that indoor gas stove usage has placed children at risk for increased incidence of asthma.
"California and New Jersey have done studies to find that gas stoves give-off high levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter – which without proper ventilation can raise the levels of indoor concentration levels to unsafe levels as deemed by the EPA."
So, what will families with gas ranges do to make the conversion? Financially?
Upon my research, the good news is that going forward, families currently cooking with gas will not have to trash their stoves. However, families making new range purchases will be affected with the possibility of purchasing an electric range.
What might the new electric range look like? How might it operate?
The "smart range," which is currently retailed in appliance stores may be the wave of the future as a mandate for every U.S. household.
With the advent and advancement of technology in every aspect of our lives, it seems to be an upward trend which may forever alter our lifestyle.